When the scientific calculator was first introduced in 1972, it was debated whether students should continue to write out formulas by hand rather than using it. The same debate is being held this semester with the rise of artificial intelligence.
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence developed by OpenAI that can generate human-like writings from typing a prompt into a chat box. Ask the AI to give 500 words on The Great Gatsby and it will do exactly that.
“I was slightly shocked but also impressed which helped me understand at least why my colleagues are panicking about this,” said Oliver Wang, a sociology professor at Long Beach State, referring to the first time he tested ChatGPT.
The New York City public school system is the first to have blocked the service from their Wi-Fi network according to the city’s education department.
“I am more troubled by the knee-jerk reactions from institutions creating firewalls on campus to stop students from accessing them,” said Wang. “You can blacklist it from the campus Wi-Fi, but they still have cellular data to access it.”
To combat traditional plagiarism educators use software like TurnItIn which can detect if any part of a student’s paper is plagiarized.
“What I heard is that folks were planning on using TurnItin but that’s not on the brochure for it,” said Matt Lesenyie, a political science professor at CSULB. “Part of me is like technology should solve this, but that’s a ridiculous thing to say because they’re trying to design it so that it reads like a human.”
Some educators have gone as far as to say schools should integrate this technology into the classroom.
“It’s not going away. There’s only going to be more and so it changes how you think about what you’re trying to teach people,” said Don Haviland, the Department Chair of Educational Leadership at CSULB.
“In my opinion, you have to use it,” Haviland added.
AI’s potential to change society is limitless and educational institutions are finding they will have no choice but to address it as it will not be going away any time soon.